Sunday, September 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


IA, AI must improve services

THIS has reference to the feature On Record entitled “Ensuring synergy between IA and AI is our goal: CMD” (Perspective, August 31). Indian Airlines and Air-India have definitely shown development over the years but they are way behind in in-flight servicing. They have a lot to learn from other airlines and should definitely try and improve their standards on a par with their international competitors.

This aspect has been completely ignored in the interview. We must not forget that now the time is ripe for the service sector to develop. Technologically, all airlines are almost on an equal footing and it is only in the in-flight services that the others score over us.

In the domestic sector, Indian Airlines is not having tough competition from the other domestic route operators in our country. Therefore, it is complacent and does not want to improve much. Had it been a case where it would have had to compete with the Europeans or even the Americans, it would not stand a chance. This is not criticism but ground reality. We must certainly improve not for others but for ourselves and for our own good.



For example, we are known worldwide for our taste for good food. However, our airlines suffer from the vice of serving average or below average food. So, we need to improve. We serve bad or below average food not because good food is not available but because the service providers are highly unprofessional in their approach. This attitude needs to be changed for the better.

We talk of increasing our presence in the area but do not think of the services that are to be provided. No doubt, expansion favours our nation as controlled growth will certainly boost our revenue earnings, but services would have to improve greatly to cope with the increased workload. As on date, the in-flight services are not up to the mark and a lot has to be done to improve them and bring them up to international standards both in the domestic and international sectors.


Quota for women

This has reference to Ms Nanki Hans’ article “Quota for women: putting the cart before the horse” (Perspective, August 31). In my opinion, the quota system for women in the civic or municipal elections has served no useful purpose as the women members are not free to work according to their wishes. Their husbands attend to all the jobs. Of course, the members' signatures or thumb impression are obtained to legitimise the decisions.

It is also true that 99 per cent of women elected to the posts of panch or sarpanch are illiterate. They can’t even sign and do not know numbering. In an interview, women members have declared that they would run the panchayats with the help of their husbands. Frankly speaking, the position will not improve if 33 per cent women are allowed to fight the elections. It would become a mockery of the system.

There would be no problem if matriculation is prescribed as the minimum qualification for contesting the panchayat elections. This may be given due weightage if women are to be given tickets. Only then, some improvement can be expected.



I endorse Ms Nanki Hans’ view that by fixing a quota of 33 per cent for women, only men would rule by proxy. I don’t know why this has not been included in the election agenda? Instead of 33 per cent, why not fix 50 per cent quota if reservation is so vital?

The issue in question is that women do not believe in themselves. They reconcile to the fact that they have to play a second fiddle to their hubbies and occupy secondary positions.

The writer has also drawn attention to reservation on the basis of caste and religion. I don’t agree to this. Instead, reservations should be need-based, based on one’s annual household income, sources of earnings etc. Only then, reservation would empower poor people and guarantee equal opportunities.

PARAMJIT KAUR, Fatehgarh Sahib

The killer of the Pakistani submarine

THIS has reference to Mr Trilochan Singh Trewn’s article “Of a glorious Indian ship and sunken enemy submarine” (Spectrum, August 24). It is a matter of regret that the writer fails to mention the name of the person responsible to sink the Pakistani submarine — P.N.S. Gazi. The writer also gives the impression that the submarine met its watery grave by fluke.

The fact is that INS Rajput was not fully operational when the war was declared. It was running on one engine only. At that time, Lt-Cdr Inder Singh (now residing at Rohtak), who was commanding INS Rajput, was summoned by Vice-Admiral N. Krishnan, Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, and told in no uncertain terms that his ship will act as decoy for INS Vikrant and that he was being sent to the sea on a suicide mission. Because INS Rajput acting as INS Vikrant will obviously be the target of the Pakistani submarine.

The Admiral also told him that he is unlikely to come back and bade him good-bye. Lt-Cdr Inder Singh is an upright person. He is very bold and courageous, devoted to his duty and committed to the cause. He told the Admiral that he will come back in flying colours. He was conscious and vigilant as he had the intelligence reports that the Pakistani submarine was around Visakhapatnam harbour. Immediately on leaving Visakhapatnam harbour, he noticed some disturbed waters and attacked the area with “Depth Charges”, resulting in the sinking of PNS Gazi.

For this act of valour, he was decorated with “Vir Chakra”. It was no fluke as the writer tries to depict. Let us give due credit to the killer of Pakistani submarine. Lt.-Cdr Inder Singh is now nicknamed as Gazi.

Capt OM PARKASH (retd), Rohtak


Key to good health

Mr Khushwant Singh delivered sermons in his column “This above all” on the theme “Strive to look and feel younger” (Windows, August 30) showing the secrets of his good health on his 89th birthday. No doubt, the suggestions are valuable to the extent that we must pay attention to our body in old age. Light exercise is enough in this age. But cutting down drastically in food and drinks may not be so beneficial in this age. The strict punctuality for meal etc in old age is very useful as explained in the column.

Cutting down the social life is not a healthy suggestion, as it will make one alone and aloof from the mainstream of social life. Eliminating it altogether will make the life miserable, as one will feel more cut off. Discouraging the visitors is not the culture of the human beings. Reprimanding a child is not a healthy practice though it may not be on the basis of rancour.

It is not acceptable that the prayer and worship indicates the admission of defeat in life. Prayer is energy to our soul as the food intakes for the body. Pills can give you the sleep but not the peace of mind. As the columnist is of the view that the company of the old age person confirms the fear and losing battle of life. It is not the fact of life but the company of oldage group makes one more interaction and creates an atmosphere of healthy conversation. It is worth admitting that the company of young mates gives energy but is not correct that it can only be taken from the opposite young sex.

It can be taken from the young grand children irrespective of the sex choice. He is talking about the dream world but not for the people who are living below the poverty line. He has not seen the life of the old person who is leading a hand-to-mouth existence.

The writer talks about the cutting of food and drinks but in India 60 per cent of the population is worried about their day-to-day meals. He is sermonising the aristocratic society where the people die of overeating but not from the hunger.



On his 89th birthday, Khushwant Singh rather appears to be depressed particularly when he is trying to betray old age by dyeing his beard black. Why to look younger? Looking younger is not the only means to feel younger. Old age is not a curse. It is a grace in itself. On the one hand, he is talking of looking younger (which will provoke desires and desires lead to miseries) and, on the other, he is advising us to take some kind of sanyas and avoid people.

I also disagree with his point of view that going to temple more than often and seeking the company of similar age means to give up the will to live. Everyone has his own receptors to sense and feel this world, his own emotions and sentiments according to the environment around him.

What is “defeat” for the writer may be a mode of drawing satisfaction and keeping peace of mind for others .Some people feel more comfortable in the company of the same aged ones. They rely more on them to share the joys and sorrows of life. I feel that old age can be more joyful by being yourself, what your inner is and not only by striving to look and feel younger.


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